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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    August 1, 2013
    5:00 - 8:01pm EDT  

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vote:
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the presiding officer: any member wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, on this vote 87 having voted in the affirmative and 10 in the negative, the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid on the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate
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will resume legislative session. the gentleman -- the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: thank you, mr. president. i move to proceed to calendar number 154s., 13 # 2. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proposed to calendar number 154, sp*d 1392, a bill for residential savings and industry and for other purpgs. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask consent the senate proceed to s. con. res. 22. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate concurrent resolution 22 providing for additional adjournment or recess of the senate and adjournment of the house of representatives.
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the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, so ordered. the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the concurrent resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening. action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: for this work period we've done a lot of work and it's turned out quite well. none of us got what we wanted but we all got something. i appreciate the cooperation of democrats and republicans this afternoon. it's always the last few hours before a recess, problems come up. and this is an adjournment, so that is even more difficult. i'm grateful to everyone for their participation and the cooperation. as for senator tkprasly, he left the -- senator grassley, he left the floor but i want to compress my -- express my appreciation to
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him. he had a situation we had to work through but it worked out all the better not only for him and senator leahy but most importantly for the staff. a senator: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to enter into a colloquy with senator stabenow. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. flake: mr. president, as the chambers prepare to go to conference on the farm bill, i rise to request a commitment of the chairwoman of the senate agriculture committee to protect the senate bill's vital provision to end direct payments outright. while i commend the chairwoman for her leadership in facilitating the full and immediate elimination of direct payments in the senate-passed farm bill, many of my colleagues may be surprised to learn that section 1101 of the house-passed farm bill contains a carveout that will actually continue
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direct payments to cotton farmers at a rate of 70% in 2014 and a rate of 60% in 2015. according to the congressional budget office, this house-passed extension of direct payments would cost taxpayers an estimated $823 million. already a poster child for federal largess, the direct payments have been, have become recently synonymous with waste, fraud and abuse. as "the washington post" put it a recent analysis of the program found it subsidizes people who aren't farming. the idle, the urban and occasionally the dead. investigations have uncovered taxpayer-backed direct payments being paid to billionaires and new york city condo dwellers and to nonfarming homeowners who happen to live in former farm lands.
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direct payments have the tarbgts tarbgts -- targets of reports by the g.a.o. which went so far to question the purpose and need for direct payments stating they did not -- quote -- "align with principles significant to integrity, effectiveness and efficiency in farm bill programs." the report went ton recommend that congress consider eliminating direct payments outright. i ask the distinguished chairwoman was the unsustainable cost of the pattern of waste, fraud and abuse associated with direct payments the impetus for the chairwoman to ensure this subsidy was fully eliminated in the most recent senate-passed farm bill? ms. stabenow: i thank my colleague from arizona for his passion on this issue. yes, it has been my goal from the beginning of this farm bill process to end unnecessary subsidies and clean up areas of waste, fraud and abuse starting with the direct payment program. the program is indefensible in this current budget climate. it makes absolutely no sense to
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pay farmers when they don't suffer a loss and to pay people who aren't even farming. that's also why we've included the strongest reforms to the commodity programs in the history of the farm bill, eliminating payments to people who are not farming, tightening the a.g.i. requirements and the amount any single farmer can receive. we even have reformed the crop insurance program. the number-one thing we've heard from listening to farmers across this country is they need market-based risk management tools. farming is an extremely risky business. farmers plant seeds in the spring and hope by the time the harvest rolls around there will have been enough rain and the right temperatures to give them a good crop. that's why we strengthen crop insurance and made that available to farmers growing different kinds of crops, because we want farmers to have skin in the game. as i've always said, this is about farmers paying a bill for crop insurance and not getting a check from the direct payment program. mr. flake: to the chairwoman's
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credit, the committee on ago, commission and forestry maintained a sustained effort to eliminate direct payments. between the 2012 and 2013 senate farm bills and the majority sequester replacement legislation, 76 current members of the senate, 76 current members of the senate voted for a full and immediate elimination of direct payments. does the chairwoman agree that even the limit of $823 million extension of direct payments found in the house-passed bill would be at odds with the recorded vote of the supermajority of the senate? ms. stabenow: my friend from arizona is correct. the senate has repeatedly voted to end direct payments. mr. flake: to that end, i respectfully request that the distinguished chairwoman make a commitment that she will protect the senate's vital provision and work to ensure that any conference report brought before the senate achieves a full and immediate elimination of direct payments. ms. stabenow: yes, that's my intention. i strongly agree we should not be spending taxpayer dollars to
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fund these direct payment subsidies and i will do everything i can to make sure the conference committee adopts the senate version of this issue. i would also say to my friend from arizona that if we don't get the farm bill signed into law by september 30, then direct payments are scheduled to continue, so i hope we can count on your support to make sure we can pass the farm bill in time and eliminate direct payments. mr. flake: i thank the chairwoman for her commitment. to be frank, i think the senate bill leaves much to be desired. in fact, to gain my support, the farm bill will need to undergo dramatic changes to reduce the taxpayer cost of federal crop insurance, to remove market-distorting price supports and limb the scope of the federal government in u.s. agriculture. that said, the chairwoman is right to point out that as uncertainty continues to surround the farm bill, congress appears poised to pass yet another extension of the 2008 farm bill, and in turn continue direct payments. with regard to direct payments, such an outcome would be a costly regression in light of the senate's bipartisan effort
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to eliminate this multibillion-dollar subsidy. after 17 years, three extensions and more than $92 billion paid out, it's time for direct payments to come to a full and immediate end. on this point, the chairwoman and i are in full agreement, and to that end, the chairwoman has my commitment to do everything i can to ensure that any legislation that should come before the senate containing an extension of direct payments will be met with my fierce opposition. i thank the chairwoman again for her commitment and for her attention to these concerns. mr. president, i yield -- ms. stabenow: i would just thank our colleagues who have been patiently waiting. i know there are many people who wish to speak. i thank my colleague from arizona. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 33, h. con. res. 25, that the amendment which is at the desk, the text of s. con. res. 8, the budget resolution passed by the senate, be
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inserted in lieu thereof, that h. con. res. 25 as amended be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, that the senate insist on its amendment, request a conference with the house on the disagreeing votes of the two houses and the chair be authorized to appoint conferees on the part of the senate, that following the authorization, two motions to instruct conferees be in order from each side. motion to instruct relative to the debt limit and motion to instruct relative to taxes and revenue. that there be two hours of debate equally divided between the two leaders or their designees prior to votes in relation to the motions. further, that no amendments be in order to either of the motions prior to the votes, all of the above occurring with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. rubio: mr. president? the presiding officer: the gentleman -- the senator from florida. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. reserving the right to object. i would ask the senator from illinois if he would consent to a modification of his request so it would not be in order for the senate to consider a conference report that includes reconciliation instructions to
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raise the debt limit? the presiding officer: does the senator so modify his request? mr. durbin: i object. the presiding officer: objection to the modification has been heard. is there objection to the original request? mr. rubio: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i'm sorry that we're ending this session and going home for august with this. this is an attempt to go to a conference committee with the house of representatives to agree on how much money we as a government will spend next year. each chamber has passed a budget resolution. the senate passed one. the house passed one. and the basic constitutional approach to this is bring the two together, work out your differences. this is in fact the 18th time we have asked the republicans for their consent to go to this conference committee to resolve the differences between the house and the senate and the
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18th time that a republican senator has stood up and objected. we have heard speech after speech about how bad it was that the senate never passed a budget resolution. i'll bet you heard it, too. so we passed one. we didn't get any help from the republicans in passing it, but we passed it. and then when it came time to try to work out our differences with the house of representatives, republican senator after republican senator stand up and say no, we don't want to meet with the house of representatives even though it has a republican majority. well, what difference does it make if we agree on this number? can life go on? it makes a big difference. you see, earlier this afternoon, we had this bill on the floor. senate bill 1243. it's a bill for the departments of transportation, housing and urban development. senator patty murray of washington chairs that appropriation subcommittee. senator susan collins of maine is her vice-chairman on the republican side. they worked long and hard on
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this bil it's a $54 billion bill. it pays for the basics when it comes to transportation in america. tiger grants so that communities can bill the roads they need. money to rebuild bridges that are falling down. airports in massachusetts, illinois and florida. it has the housing and urban development program in it as well. housing for poor people, housing for veterans. well, it came to a procedural vote today on the floor. it was a dramatic moment. the senator from maine, the republican senator who has worked on this for so long, stood up and begged her colleagues on the republican side to join her in moving this bill forward. she put in a lot of work and she went through this long list of 85 different amendments that have been considered on this bill, how everybody has had their chance if they wanted to change it. senator murray of washington said the same thing. and then the republican leader, senator mcconnell, came to the floor and said i'm asking all the republicans to vote no. vote no because we have not
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reached an agreement on the budget resolution. we have not reached an agreement on the total amount of money we'll spend next year. so they all voted no. all except senator collins. every one of them voted no because we didn't have an agreement on the budget resolution. so i just came to the floor and said why don't we sit down and try to reach an agreement on the budget resolution, and the republican senator said no, i object to that. where does that leave us? they won't pass the bills, appropriation bills, for something as basic as transportation and infrastructure because we don't have an agreement on a budget resolution, and they won't give their consent for us to sit down and agree on a budget resolution. the games politicians play. when we had this press conference outside here, there were people from the construction industry -- iron workers, transportation workers, some of them hardhats.
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one of them got up to the microphone and said i don't know what's going on inside those rooms were all that wrestling, but we need more jobs in america. why can't you pass a bill to create more jobs in america? you know, i think most americans wherever they live would agree with that iron worker. most of them wouldn't understand what just happened today, how the republicans, except for one, all voted against this bill for transportation, saying we hadn't reached an agreement on how much we're going to spend, and then turned around and objected when we came forward and said then let's try and reach an agreement. they objected. you just heard it on the floor. i respect my colleague from florida. and you know the reason for the objection? he's afraid that we may resolve the issue about our debt ceiling. do you know what the dreelg is? the debt ceiling is america's mortgage. when we vote for spending bills, we have to borrow some money to cover what we're voting for. many on the republican side say we want to vote for spending bills, but we don't want to be held responsible for the money you have to borrow to pay for
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it. if we fail to enact the debt ceiling at the end of this year, america will default on its debt for its first time in history. the economic recovery we're seeing now will disappear. jobs will be lost. businesses are going to contract, some will fail. it's totally irresponsible to say i just hope we never extend that debt ceiling. we need to do that. we did it 16 times under president ronald reagan, 16 different times under president reagan. this isn't a democratic or republican issue. it's an issue of responsibility and fiscal responsibility. i am saddened that we had such a good run for two weeks where we were working together here and we end on such a sour note. i'm saddened that we couldn't pass this good, basic bill, a bill which had bipartisan support coming out of the committee. i'm saddened that the senator from maine was the only republican senator who would vote for this bill today. and i'm saddened today that
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we'll end this session with an objection to the house and senate trying to sit down together and work out their differences. if you wonder why the approval rating of congress is at rock bottom, i'm afraid we have seen today in the proceedings of the senate exactly why that's the case. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. rubio: mr. president? the presiding officer: the gentlelady from -- the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: thank you, mr. president. i rise this afternoon to discuss the energy savings and industrial competitiveness act, which is also known as shah halloween-portman, -- shaheen shaheen-portman. i'm pleased to be here with my cosponsor, senator rob portman. he has been a partner in developing this legislation. i want to thank him for being such a great partner. and because he has to go catch a night, i am going to defer, yield to him to give his remarks, if i could, yield to him for a question so that he
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could speak to this bill and get to his flight on time. mr. portman: i thank the gentlelady for posing the question, and i appreciate her yielding. i will yield back to her in a moment. but first just to say that i appreciate her working with me over the last couple of years on this legislation. this is the kind of legislation that we are doing around here because it has a lot of benefits. it reduces our trade deficit, it helps encourage job creation, and it actually helps make our environment cleaner. i think it can be helpful in a renaissance for our manufacturing here in america. it's called the energy savings and industrial competitiveness act. i also want to thank the ranking member and chair of the senate energy committee, senator wyden and senator murkowski, for their consistent support of this legislation. we hope to get this to the floor when we come back in september with a strong vote. i'm told this will be the first substantive energy bill on the floor since 2007. about time. and i hope that we'll have support from both sides of the
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aisle. i know it has support on both sides of the capitol. it's going to help job creators all over the country. it's the right thing to do. on this side of the aisle, we focus a lot on an all of the above energy strategy. we believe we ought to be producing more energy, particularly energy sources in the ground here in america, and i demonstrator that -- support that strongly. we also talk about embracing smart, economically viable strategies that produce -- that use less energy. there is less on this part about using less. that's what this bill does. it is supported by more than 250 businesses, trade associations, advocacy groups, national association of manufacturers, the sierra club, the alliance to save energy, the united states chamber of commerce, so it's a group that doesn't normally come together to support legislation. they like this bill because again it has these benefits for the environment but also benefits for the economy and for our energy policy in this country. it passed the energy committee with a strong bipartisan vote of
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19-3. simply put, senator shaheen and i have a bill here that i think makes good environmental sense, it makes good economic sense and it makes good energy sense. i visit with businesses and job creators all over ohio, and they tell me pretty much the same thing. they are competing in a global marketplace. they're competing with companies in indiana but also in india, and their ability to compete depends on their costs. they go up against companies and countries where the costs to produce goods tends to be lower. we're never going to compete on wages in developing countries, nor should we. we're not going to be able to reduce the quality of our goods, nor should we. we want to be sure we're not cutting corners. one thing we can do is reduce the costs to our manufacturers on energy because it's a big input, particularly with heavy manufacturing. this enables us to do that through energy efficiency technologies. what we can do as the federal government through research, through disseminating best practices, through supporting
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skills training is help the private sector develop the energy efficiency techniques of the future. we can make it easier for them to use efficiency tools to reduce their costs which enables them to put their savings toward expanding companies and hiring more people. the proposals contained in the bill are commonsense reforms we have needed for a long time. the bill has no mandates on anyone in the private sector. in fact, many of our proposals come as a direct result of our conversations we've had with people in the private sector about how the federal government can best help them to become more energy efficient, save money and create more jobs by reinvesting in their businesses and communities. here's a brief overview of what the legislation does. first, it helps manufacturers by reforming what's called the advanced manufacturing office. this is an office at the department of energy. we need to provide clear guidance in this office, that its responsibilities ought to include and ought to be prioritized to help manufacturers develop energy-saving technology for their businesses. frankly, they have gotten a little bit off track and have focused more on helping manufacturers of clean energy, which other departments and
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agencies do, including fdoe. this office ought to be focused on energy-saving technology. it also requires the department of energy to assist with on-site efficiency assessments for manufacturers. it facilitates the already-existing efforts of countries around the country to implement cost-saving energy efficiency policies by streamlining the way the government agencies in this area work together. and it ?eefs partnerships with the national laboratories, which are a great source of research and technology and energy service providers to leverage private-sector expertise tort energy efficiency goals. it strengthens model building soadz codes so we'll have the most up to date building codes that are available. no mandates but best practices. it establishes university-based centers building on industrial assessment centers around the country. happens to be one in dayton, ohio that does a great job. they want them to do energy
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efficiency work. they will train workers through this legislation. not only will these programs save energy but help provide students and unemployed workers with the stills they need to compete in what could be a growing field which is the energy efficiency field. again, this bill is not about forcing companies to become more energy efficient or imposing mandates. it's about giving companies the help they're asking for. weerng do it at no expense to the taxpayer because the cost is fully offset. in fact, i believe bill will save the american people a bunch of money. why? because the legislation takes on the largest user of energy in the world and that's the united states government. the federal government needs to practice what it preaches. by requiring it in this bill to adopt energy saving techniques that make operations more efficient, we're doing just that. the bill directs d.o.e. to,
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computer hardware, energy efficiency software, power management tools and takes commonsense steps of allowing the general services administration to update building designs. they develop these designs over time, they'll be permitted to update these efficiency standards with the latest energy efficiency technology. the government has been looking for places to tight enl,en its built. this is a good place to start. all of this adds up to legislation americans can support. fully offset, contains no mandates in the private sector, requires the federal government to become more efficient. according to a recent study of our legislation and its impacts by 2020, using the tools of shaheen-portman, the private-sector can create 80,000 dplu new you new jocks, lower co2 emissions by the equivalence of five million cars off the road and safe $4 billion
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ar inrgy costs. a vote on this act is one more step toward achieving the goal of a true all-of-the-above energy policy that produces more energy at home while using less. i urge my colleagues to support it and, again, i want to commend my colleague from new hampshire for working with us on this and i yield back to her after having answered her question. ms. mrs. shaheen: i assume your question, mr. portman, will this bill pass the senate? mr. portman: will it pass the senate? mrs. shaheen: it will pass the senate. it represents almost three years of meetings, negotiations, broad stakeholder outreach and the effort to craft the most effective piece of legislation with the greatest chance of passing not only this senate but the house as well. and also that it can be signed into law. this bill, as you've explained so well, is a bipartisan effort
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that's designed to woost boost the use of energy efficiency technologies. it will create private-sector jobs, save businesses and consumers money, reduce pollution and it will make our country more energy independent. this legislation will have a swift and measurable benefit to our economy and our environment. as senator portman said, a study by experts at the council for an energy efficient economy found last year's version would have saved consumers $4 billion and this may be a little hard to read on the chart but you can see it reduces energy costs and in doing so saves consumers $4 billion a year. it creates -- it would create about 80,000 jobs if it were passed by 2020 and also be the equivalent of taking five million cars off the road. the united states
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comprehensive national energy policy. we are too dependent on foreign oil, we are overly reliant on an outdated energy infrastructure. we need to utilize a wide range of energy sources, including natural gas, oil, nuclear, and renewables like wind, biomass and solar. but we can't just focus on the supply side. we also need to think about how we consume the energy once we have it. and efficiency is the cheapest, fastest way to reduce our energy use. energy saving techniques and technologies, lower costs, they free up capital, that allows businesses to expand and create jobs, and allow our economy to grow. we can start by improving our efficiency now by installing ready and proven technologies, things like modern heating and cooling systems, smart meters,
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computer controlled thermostats and low-energy lighting, just to name a few. now, thrrn substantial the countries that exist across all sectors of our economy to conserve energy, to create good-paying private-sector jobs. in fact, there are countless examples of success stories in the private sector that i've had the good fortune to see as i've traveled around new hampshire. i visited small retail businesses, manufacturing companies, ski areas, apartment complexes, and municipal buildings throughout new hampshire. they're all using energy efficient technologies to lower cost, to improve working conditions, and most important, to stay competitive. not long ago i had the opportunity to visit a company on the sea coast called high liner foods, a seafood processing plant and it requires
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a lot of energy to operate. in fact, at one point the 180,000 square foot facility consumed roughly two megawatts of power at any time during enforcemental operations. next to the cost of personnel and fish, because it's a fish processing plant, energy was their biggest expense. but by installing efficient lighting, new boilers, various demand response techniques like adjusting lighting to dim when no employees are in the area, establishing hvac set points, highliner foods is making great strides in reducing energy consumption. it's allowed them to expand their footprint in the state and to be more cost-effective in their production. just this week, i had the opportunity to visit the first lead certified auto dealership
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in new hampshire. mr.mr. chairman it's the first toyota dealership which is lead certified in new england, which i know you will appreciate being from massachusetts. they have funded a number of initiatives to cut their energy costs including the installation of solar panels, efficient lighting and an an impressive energy dashboard to monitor energy use throughout their entire facility and their customers can come in, touch this interactive dashboard and see what's going on throughout the physical plant. i've also visited some great new hampshire companies who are producing energy efficient technologies. we have a company in new hampshire called warner power which has made the first breakthrough in transformers in over a hundred years. studies show that energy -- that inefficiency in transformers result in a loss of
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about 5% of all electricity generated in the united states. with the wide scale use of warren power's innovation, the hexaformer, the economy estimates 1.5% of all transformer energy losses could be eliminated. this would save the country 60 terrawatts of electricity a year. that's actually to about five times new hampshire's entire annual electricity consumption. so energy efficiency is an excellent example of a bipartisan and affordable approach that can immediately grow our economy and improve our energy security. in addition to being affordable, further parliamentary inquiry si is widely supported because its benefits aren't confined to a certain fuel source or a particular region of the country. it's clearly one of those areas where we can all come to some
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common agreement whether we support fossil fuels or whether we support alternatives like wind and solar. so it's no wonder as senator portman says that this legislation enjoys a broad -- such a broad, diverse coalition of support. it's received more than 250 endorsements from businesses, environmental groups, think tanks and trade associations, from the u.s. chamber of commerce and the national association of manufactures to the -- mmps to the painters union. these are the types of non traditional alliances that helped us get the ladies and gentlemen to the floor. it creates a strategy to increase the use of efficient technologies in the commercial and residential sectors of our economy. it provides incentives and
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support, not mandates, for rez denver -- residential and commercial buildings to cut energy use. this is very important because buildings consume about 40% of all energy in the united states. the bill strengthens voluntary national model building codes, and i would emphasize these are voluntary, to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient. while working with states and private industry to make the code writing process more transparent. it also trains the next generation of workers in energy efficient commercial building design and operation. teenage also assists -- the legislation also assists our industrial manufacturing sector which consumes more energy than any other sector of the u.s. economy. it directs the department of energy to work closely with the private sector industrial partners to encourage research, development and commercialization of innovative energy efficient technology ands
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it helps businesses reduce energy costs and become more competitive by incentivizing the use of more energy efficient motors and transformers. and it establishes a voluntary program called supply star which is modeled on the successful energy star program to help make company supply chains more efficient. and finally, the legislation requires the federal government, the single largest user of energy in the country, to adopt more efficient building standards and smart metering technology. it requires the federal government to adopt energy saving technologies and operations for computers, and it allows federal agencies to use existing funds to update plans for new federal buildings using the most current building efficiency standards. and the best part as senator portman said, is that the cost
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of this legislation is fully offset. it reallocates funding that has not been used from existing programs. i want to thank chairman ron wyden and his ranking member, lisa murkowski from the senate energy and natural resources committee for their great support in getting this bill 0 to -- to the floor. this is a bipartisan, affordable and widely supported piece of legislation and most important, it's an effective step in addressing our nation's very real energy needs. i thank senator portman, senators wyden and murkowski for all of their help with this bill, and i look forward to debating the bill on the floor of the senate, to listening to amendments and to passing this bill out to the house and finally having it signed into law and i hope my colleagues will join me in this debate. thank you very much, mr. president.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i rise today to talk about the status of the ongoing finance committee investigation into the targeting scandal at the internal revenue service. as you can tell my voice is a bit hoarse this afternoon and i'm feeling a little bit under the weather but with the senate about to go into recess, i thought it important that i would say a few words about this investigation. particularly with some of the statements we've heard coming from the administration this week. in may when the news broke that the i.r.s. had been targeting conservative organizations applying for tax exempt exempt status with additional scrutiny, president obama promised his administration would fully cooperate with conscious in its investigations. he also stated that he directed treasury secretary lew to follow up on the i.r.s.'s inspector general audit to get more information as to how this happened and who was responsible
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to make sure that the public understood all the facts. i was encouraged by this initial response. as you recall, mr. president, i worked to clear the way for secretary lew's confirmation here in the senate. even though many of my colleagues had expressed legitimate concerns about his nomination. i did so in large part because i believed him when he promised to be fully transparent and cooperative with congress. when the president said that he'd ordered the secretary to get to the bottom of this, i expected him to live up to his promises to do so and to work with us as we try to do the same. imagine my surprise then to hear both the president and secretary lew state over the past week -- say that with our investigations into the i.r.s. targeting, congress was creating a -- quote -- "phone scandal"-- unquote.
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it started with the president, who said -- quote -- "with this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, washington is taking its eye off the ball and i'm here to say this needs to stop"-- unquote. that's what the president said. that w -- that was followed by secretary lew stating on last sunday's shows this past we wanteweekendthat -- quote -- "to evidence that this went to any political official." and that congressional investigators' efforts to find evidence is -- quote -- "creating the kind of sense of a phony scandal." excuse me. so in essence, mr. president, they're saying that our efforts to look into this mess are illegitimate and that the american people should simply ignore them. that's a far cry -- a far cry --
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from the position the president and his administration took when this scandal was made public. like i said at that time, they were contrite. officials were even apologizing for what went on at the i.r.s. today, however, it's a -- quote -- "phony scandal." it's not worthy of the public attention, they say. i just have to wonder what they're basing their dismissal on. certainly not a thorough review of all the relevant documents, that is for sure. in a letter to congressional leaders on june 4, danny wuerful, the acting i.r.s. commissioner, stated that the i.r.s. had collected some 646 gig bbig abygigabytes of raw, ey stored information, which is equal to 65 million pages worth of documents relevant to this administration -- this investigation.
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let me repeatt. the man in charge, danny w we wl stated that the i.r.s. had collected some 646 gigabytes of raw, electronically stored information which is equal to 65 million pages worth of documents relevant to this administration. however, to date, only about 21,500 pages have been given to us. 21,500 pages that documents -- those are the only documents produced to the finance committee to fulfill our comprehensive document request from may 20 may 20th of this ye. the pace of which documents have been provided to our committee has been slow and often with long delays inbetween document productions. so despite their initial pledges to be cooperative and responsi responsive, the administration, the obama administration's, been
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slowwalking the senate finance committee, slowwalking this whole thing to the senate finance committee. and we aren't the only ones. we are not the only ones bein being -- being slowwalked. just last week, my colleagues on the ways and means committee, chairman dave camp and ranking member sander levin wrote to danny wuerful, who is currently the deputy i.r.s. commissioner, that at the race th rate the i.s producing documents, a full and responsive production will produce months. it's actually much worse than that. let me just refer to this pie chart. look at the documents we received from the i.r.s. 6,000 pages of, guess what? training materials. [laughter] come on, give me a break. 500 pages of steven miller, douglas shulman and william wilkins.
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15,000 pages of nonpriority custodians. that's what we've gotten from them since may. it's pathetic. as that chart illustrates, given the intermittent pace of document production and the very small number of priority documents we've received thus far, it could be 2016 before we would ever be able to draw any conclusions about what happened at the i.r.s. that's pathetic. i have a feeling that's exactly what this administration wants and that's what i call slowwalking. since the initial report confirming the inappropriate targeting was released by the treasury inspector general for tax administration -- excuse me -- otigta, this "phony scandal" has evolved from what the i.r.s. first claimed was a couple of rogue employees in cincinnati to
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direct i.r.s. involvement from high-level government officials in i.r.s. in washington, d.c., including individuals in the i.r.s.'s chief counsel office. and i should note that the i.r.s. chief counsel is also an assistant general counsel in the treasury department and he reports to the treasury's general counsel. clearly, much more needs to be learned about who was involved, why decisions were made, and what motivated these decisions. that is why here in the senate, the finance committee has been conducting a thorough, balanced and fact-based bipartisan investigation that carefully cay aspect of this in order to get to the truth. we are not interested -- mr. roberts: mr. president, would the distinguished ranking member lead for just one quick question? i know that you have prepared remarks and i know that you're not feeling well, but i just -- i'm stunned by this. i'm a member of the commi,
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asou well know. you have been promised full cooperation by the deputy commissioner, mr. wuerful. i have been present when he has tried to inform the committee of full cooperation. and now we find out what full cooperation is, more especially after the president has indicated that these so-called scandals are phony scandals, then repeated by mr. lew. you have stated that there are 65 million pages that should be available to the committee, which is stunning. stunning in the job that we would have to do. but out of those requested, only 21,500 documents have been presented. and of the 21,500, only 15,000 of -- well, oh, 15,000 pages but those are nonpriority documents. thereby that if you try to
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figure out when this would be done, it would be in 2016. is that correct? mr. hatch: that's right. mr. roberts: i am stunned by this. mr. hatch: it may actually go beyond that. mr. roberts: i would imagine if you do the match and how much time we have to actually do this, but i'm stunned. this wasn't what we were promised. this wasn't the understanding with the full committee in a bipartisan effort. and i -- we're going to have t to -- i don't know what we're going to have to do here but we're going to have to take some drastic action here if this is any indication of what we are taking. you have pointed out that we have been thorough, we have been bipartisan, we have kept absolute integrity with this. and the word -- the key was word was "painstaking." well, if we have this information, there's a lot of pain but there's no take. and i am extremely upset about it and i thank the ranking member for bringing so diligent in bringing this to the attention of the senate. mr. hatch: well, i thank my colleague from kansas. and all i can say is that, look,
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we were promisedion and we're nt getting it. now, i don't really blame mr. wuerful for this, although he -- he is a very close friend of mr. lew's. i think he really has wanted to be more cooperative. when i chatted with him today again, he indicated that the attorneys are going over everything. let me just say, are we going to get the right papers? are we going to get the truth here? we're not interested in some perceptions of the truth based on limited documents and limited facts. we want to know precisely what happened and we're going to find out. to date, in addition to the small number of documents we've been able to review, the finance committee investigators have interviewed 14 individuals from i.r.s. offices in both cincinnati and washington, d.c.
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so far those interviews have yielded more questions than answers. in fact, the list of additional questions keeps growing as the investigation wears on. after more than two months of investigation, here are just a few of the questions i have. i won't take too much of the senate's time tonight. i've got a lot more questions tonight but i'm going to ask these in a bipartisan manner. why did the i.r.s. commissioner shulman man visit the white house 157 times? that's the number we've been given. that's unheard of. it's never happened before. i admit that obamacare has taken some time but you can't justify 157 times. it sounds to me like there's something fishy going on. why is it that the unions who asked for tax-exempt status only 501-c-5, there was a surge in
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the 501-c-5 applications in the recent years. why weren't they subject to some of this scrutiny? did the i.r.s. give extra scrutiny to union applications for tax-exempt status? the answer to that is, no, they didn't. i'm not suggesting they should have but they certainly shouldn't have treated preelection the so-called conservative groups the way they treated them. everybody knows that's a scandal and yet they call this not a scandal? once deputy treasury secretary neil woland learned from inspector general russell george of the tigta audit regarding i.r.s. targeting of conservative groups on june 4, 2012, did he tell anyone else at treasury
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department? or the white house about his findings? including then-treasury secretary geithner? not that i -- not that i can understand, because we don't know. they're not answering these questions. when did assistant general counsel for treasury, william wilkins, who also holds the title of i.r.s. chief counsel, first find out that the i.r.s. was targeting conservative groups? when did he find that out? why can't we get a simple answer on that? who did mr. wilkins inform about this targeting when he found out about it? what was the extent of the treasury department's role regarding lowest learner revealing, in response to a planted question that the i.r.s. had targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status at an american bar association
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conference? when did any employee of the treasury department first have involvement regarding the i.r.s. targeting of conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status? what was the first date that any white house official was informed about the i.r.s. targeting of conservative applicants for tax-exempt stat status? it has been reported that pro publica obtained private information fro from the i.r.s. about conservative groups that are h applied for tax-exempt status. iin addition, it had been reported that the i.r.s. he will legally leaked information about its donors. what action, if any, has been taken by the i.r.s. and the department of justice with respect to any i.r.s. employee who may have illegally disclosed
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either of these cases? these are important questions. are there other cases where a conservative group or its members have had their private taxpayer information unlawfully disclosed? it has been reported that the i.r.s. attempted to impose gift taxes on donors to the conservative group freedom watch -- freedom's watch. did the i.r.s. attempt to impose gift taxes on the donors of other tax-exempt groups? has the i.r.s. targeted individuals for an audit of their personal tax returns based on their membership in or donations to a conservative tax-exempt group? it has been reported that louis learner communicated with an attorney at the federal election commission regarding a case before the f.e.c. did lois learner violate section
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6103 of the internal revenue code dealing with the protection of taxpayer privacy in her communications with the federal election commin she had a right to take the fifth amendment, but why was why she took it, because she violated 6103? these are questions that have to be answered. why did sarah hall ingraham in charge of the i.r.s.'s efforts in implementing obamacare attend a meeting with then-i.r.s. chairman steve miller in may 2012 regarding the i.r.s.'s targeting of conservative groups application for tax-exempt status? it has been reported in the media that christine o'donnell had a tax lien put on her
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property the day she declared her candidacy for senate. there's something wrong here anybody who's fair ought to be concerned about what's wrong here. not just there but in all these questions. as part of the i.r.s. internal investigation that the president charged secretary lew with conducting, has the i.r.s. examined whether any political candidates were inappropriately targeted? much has been made of the employees who have been -- quote -- "relieved of duty" and had -- quote -- "administrative actions" taken against them allegedly in direct response to the inappropriate targeting. once again, the facts do not add up here as the administrative actions thus far were against low-level employees for actions that were not directly tied to the allegations of an
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inappropriate targeting. my question is, who was relieved of duty? lois lerner supposedly was after she took the fifth amendment and refused to testify. but even she was able to log into her computer after being allegedly relieved, and she's still being paid her full salary. who else has been relieved of duty? what does lois lerner know that prompted her to invoke her fifth amendment right against self-incrimination? former i.r.s. commissioner steve miller and doug shulman were both aware of the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status and the systematic practice of subjecting those conservative groups to intrusive and
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unwarranted scrutiny about their activities. why did they both deceive the senate by failing to inform us that these practices were going on? why? i i was disappointmented in commissioner schulman because he came to my office long before this all came up and i was quite impressed, but i think he had an obligation to come clean here. why did the tea party cases sit for months at the i.r.s. through the 2010 election cycle without activity? why? why did low is lerner direct the chief council's office, an office reportedly slow in its response to requests from other i.r.s. components, to get
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involved in reviewing tea party cases? why did the i.r.s. demand that tea party organizations seeking tax-exempt status provide a list of their donors to the i.r.s. when that was not required? why? these type of inappropriate actions. like i said, madam president, these are just some of the many questions we have about the i.r.s. targeting scandal. these questions will simply not go away, and our investigation will not stop until all of them are answered. and we're doing this in a bipartisan way. now just today we have learned that president obama has selected a new nominee to serve as the next commissioner of the i.r.s. i have to say that i was a bit surprised, though perhaps i
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really shouldn't be. given the dark cloud that currently hangs over the i.r.s., i would have thought that the president would have taken the time to consult with congress before choosing the agency's next leader. yet i'm the ranking member of the appropriate committee with sole jurisdiction over the i.r.s., and today's announcement is the first i've heard of this decision, and it was only after the decision was made. now, i like the president. i think we're friends. but that was improper, and it was a sleight that should not have happened. i asked senator baucus if he was informed by the president. he said -- about three hours ago, he said. and he sound add little bit disgusted himself. i won't go into the merits of
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john coskin's nomination today -- i have no intention of prejudging them. he'll be fairly considered by the finance committee, and i have the reputation that he'll be fairly considered. and his record and qualifications will be thoroughly examined. but i want to assure my colleagues that i will demand significant answers from mr.coscanan when he comes before the committee, and i think other republicans will as well. my purpose will be twotboald. first, we need to get to the truth about what happens at the i.r.s. and just as important we need to make sure that the obama administration is fully cooperating. so today i want to call on president obama and secretary
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lew to stop closing the door on this investigation that has just started and hasn't even been given a chance. if this is indeed a phony scandal, the burden is on them to prove that it is. and just saying that it is is not good enough. they should have the i.r.s. produce all the right -- requested documents and let the documents speak for themselves. there's no reason to hide these things, nor is there a reason to have a whole bunch of attorneys determining what can be released and what can't be released. let them show how their partisan targeting began and why it continued for years. let them show who was or was not involved and to what level within the i.r.s. or elsewhere in the government these activities were discussed and directed. until then, this is certainly not a phony scandal.
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it is legitimate, bipartisan investigation being conducted in a fair and balanced way that seeks to let the facts dictate the outcome. madam president, i have a reputation around here for being fair and honest, and i resent the way the finance committee is being treated. i can't speak for the chairman, but i believe he feels pretty much the same way. because we're being mistreated with regard to our request for information, and this isn't some itty-bitty phony scandal. this is big-time stuff. that should get into why the i.r.s. was doing this to begin with. people in this country are scared to death of the i.r.s. and with good reason. if they can do this to you, can you imagine what else they can do? and i've just list add knew things here today.
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i've got a lot more i can say. this is an important investigation. senator baucus and i intend to do it in a bipartisan way. when we ask for documents, we want documents, and we don't want some bunch of partisan lawyers in the department stopping us from getting the documents that they must provide. it sure looks like they're deliberately trying to delay this as long as they can so they can say, well, nobody cares about it. well, i got to tell you, everybody in this country must care about it. if they can do this to these small conservative, tax-chement -- tax-exempt organizations, then they can do it to every other organizations when the time comes. this is an important
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investigation, and this administration ought to be at the forefront of trying to get to the bottom of it instead of pulling from behind saying there's nothing here when they know there's a lot here. i'd like these questions answered. they're important questions. this is an important investigation. we should not allow the i.r.s. to run rampant like this. that's the beginning of tyranny, except it began before 2010. and we should get to the bottom of it so it never, ever happens again. i think there are a lot of people at the i.r.s. that would like to see us get to the bottom of it, because they're being besmirched by the bad things that have happened here. there are a lot of decent, honorable people working at the i.r.s., but they've got to be as cornered as i am about the mistreatment that occurred prior to the last election and after.
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this is goinis it going to happ? are these agencies of government going to be used by partisan people in the way that it's been used up till now? it's enough to scare the daylights out of anybody. and it's enough to think, are we moving toward a totalitarian system where the people in government can get away with anything they want to, understand especiallandespecials powerful and scary as the i.r.s.? madam president, i hope we can get the answer to these questions. if we can't, this isn't going to stop until we dovment and tees are just the -- until we do. and these are just the preliminary questions. i am come back with some more in the coming weeks. with that, i had aide yield the floor. -- i'd yield the floor. mr. roberts: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas.
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mr. roberts: madam president, i'd want to thank again the distinguished ranking member of the finance committee for his presentation in asking very pertinent questions, with what i thought was going to be not easy task but at least a task where we would receive cooperation from the i.r.s. and, for that matter, the administration. nobody likes to be audited, and surely nobody likes to say they've been auditing. the distinguished rank member has pointed out about all the conservative groups. let me point out that this has gone on as well to them as to individuals as well. we're getting reports from the central campaign committee indicating that the people are hesitant to give, that people have given in the pt
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significantly republican cause have been audited and audited for the first time in their lives, to pro-israel groups, and i can go on and on with the list of the organizations. this is a very serious -- a very serious situation. this really surprises me that, having said we were going to do this in a painstaking, bipartisan way, that this is simply not the case. and i'm -- inl a going to be -- i'm gimmick to bi am going to be distinguished ranking member. there are very simple questions that have bee have to be boiledn first and there are many more. there is a subject that i want. the people do not trust the i.r.s. to be in charge of their health care. and that's the subject i want to
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touch on and i will try to make it very brief. it has been more than three years, madam president, since the affordable health care act, referred to by some -- or most -- in the press as obamacare, was signed into law. at that time, i can recall, after months of markup in both the health, education, labor, and pensions and finance committees, i had many concerns. i remember i was very frustrated with my amendments being defeated on partisan votes, most of them dealt with rationing. and i remember distinctly comparing this rush to government health care to a western or kansas analogy, to riding hell for ledger into a box canyon eventually to find the only alternative would be to
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turned around and ride back out to a more realistic market-oriented health care reform trail. as it turned out, we never even saw the bill before we voted on it. i voted "no." and so did every other republican senator and member of congress. and i regret to say that my colleagues -- or to my colleagues, that i told you so. premiums are going up, taxes are going up, overall health care costs continue to rise, and burdensome, costly, and i might add difficult-to-understand regulations are confusing and confounding health care providers. many of these folks will not even know about a particular regulation until they are fined by outside contractors. the results have been terribly counterproductive to any economic recovery.
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repletionregulations like this y of dampening anything we're trying to do. the current and growing problems are so large and complicated with this government takeover of health care that it has been difficult if not impossible for the administration just to get obamacare off the ground. now, i mentioned what happened three years ago at the beginning of my remarks. let's now talk about what's coming down the pike in a matter of weeks, just a matter of weeks, october is i 1 is the dee when according to the affordable health care act -- according to the law, according to promise, millions of americans who do not receive insurance through an employer will be forced to purchase health insurance in an exchange overseen by the states and the federal government, except for georgia. yesterday georgia was the first of exchanges to announce that they will not be ready by october 1, by the october 1
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deadline, and have asked for a delay. now, i am going to make a prediction. what georgia did, others will do, including the federal government. in fact, as we all know, the administration in a weekend blog, no less, announced they would employ the employer mandate due to take place january 1, 23014, impi a year, to january of 2015. i might add it just happens to be after the midterm elections. this just means another delay for businesses that complained about the red tape and costly burdens the mandate placed on their operations, many are already laying off their employees or moving them to part-time status to avoid the costly mandate. and all of this follows the thousands of waivers granted to corporations and unions and other groups, and my question is again where is the waiver for the average family in kansas and around theatn?
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where is the permanent delay for the taxes that will affect individuals? as we warned, things are starting to crumble and get worse, which is why we need to sunset the exchanges and individual mandates, literally a tax on families. now, this evening -- this afternoon, probably, tomorrow, those of us privileged to serve in this senate will leave washington for the month of august, and we are going to get an earful regarding all of the problems associated with obamacare and the impending deadline. will the exchanges be ready? if they say they're ready, will they really be ready? many kansans who will be forced into a federal exchange or see another last-minute delay, -- a federal exchange, by the way, that doesn't exist as of my remarks -- will ask how much their new plan will cost. they will say what it will
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cover, what will it cover? they will ask will they be able to see their family doctor? will their personal health information remain private and safe or end up in a six-agency database? some people have called it seven agencies. will they be losing their -- the health insurance that they like? will the high cost force their employer to make them a part-time employee, change their plan or just drop their coverage altogether? right now, kansans and everyone else in the country cannot answer these questions, and neither, neither can the administration. and when we get back, we will have only four weeks until the october 1 deadline. now, that means really if we're going to do something about this, we're only going to have three weeks in which something can be done to sunset, delay, defund or repeal the law and replace it with real health care
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reform that works and to restore the all-important relationship between patients and doctors. well, i do have an answer, madam president. sometime ago when the obamacare storm clouds were first forming, i introduced legislation to sunset the exchanges and the individual mandate if they are not as promised up and running, ready to roll, ready to enroll by october 1 so that the exchanges can meet the requirements prescribed by law. simply named, the exchange sunset act of 2013, it's s. 1272, my bill aims to make sure that if the exchanges are not ready, they go away. and so does the mandate. now, i realize as we travel down this road to the october 1 deadline at ever-increasing speed, there will be those whose
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support to continued advertising and encouraging thousands to sign up in the exchanges. the question is sign up for what? the chances for the exchanges, state and federal, to be ready, and i mean ready, accessible to all that the advertising is trying to bring in are remote at best. obviously, there will be some kind of a delay, and once again, we will have the administration rewriting laws they had a direct hand in writing, and were passed exclusively by the democratic majority. i submit changing the law by the executive, the office of the president, without approval by the congress is unconstitutional. three weeks. three weeks before the obamacare train wreck. when this body comes back, i urge immediate consideration -- let's talk about it -- immediate consideration, and hopefully
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passage of s. 1272, the exchange sunset act of 2013. it's a train wreck, folks, and we have to get america off the track. i yield back. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: i rise today to discuss the so-called grand bargain yesterday referenced by the president. on tuesday, president obama recycled the number of policy ideas that have lingered for months, if not years, and repackaged them as what he called a grand bargain. the proposal seems to be an attempt by the president to extend an olive branch to the republican side of the aisle by offering corporate tax reform. in exchange, he is asking for additional stimulus spending. mr. president, -- madam president, i'm all in favor of a grand bargain, but this is not even close to a grand bargain. it's not even a bargain.
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a grand bargain would involve reform to entitlement programs to make them sustainable over time. a grand bargain would involve a far-sided look at the out years, not just a shortsighted attempt to score political points for the next election cycle. the administration has taken the taxpayer down the road of stimulus spending before with the idea that we can stimulate job growth with so-called shovel-ready projects. sadly, we have all seen what throwing taxpayer money at supposed shovel readiness gets you, and just how lackluster this recovery has been. wasting hard-earned dollars on so-called investments doesn't create jobs. people and the people who build them -- businesses and the people who build them, that's what creates jobs. i think both sides of the aisle agree that our tax code is already far too complicated. in fact, a recent bipartisan letter from the chairman and ranking minority of the senate
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finance committee discussed the complexity, the inefficiency and the unfairness of our tax code. it acts as a brake on our economy. but if we can't bring ourselves to do entitlement reform or the so-called grand bargain, at least at this stage what we can do is perhaps a small bargain for business and the taxpayers just by simplifying both the individual and corporate codes to foster an environment that's hospitable to business expansion, to hiring and international competitiveness. last week, i shared publicly with the leadership of our tax-writing committee my goals and principles for tax reform. chief among them is lowering the business tax -- business tax income for a corporation and those businesses that file as individuals. with 95% of u.s. businesses structured as subchapter s corporations, limited
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partnerships, limited liabili corporations and other pass-through businesses, we can't ignore the fact that many of them pay at the top rate of 39.6%, in addition to several other layers of taxation. in my view, any substantive tax reform should include a reform tax system that allows all u.s. businesses, including pass-through businesses, to thrive. unfortunately, the proposed corporate taxation reforms that the president included in his recent announcement have again -- it will have the government picking winners and losers in the tax code. here in the senate, there are efforts to work in a bipartisan fashion to reform the tax code. this is a good-faith effort that should be encouraged. as i mentioned, it would be a bargain for taxpayers and businesses alike. then who knows if we can make progress on the small bargain, then perhaps someday we can return our attention to the grand bargain, a bargain that would include and involve
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entitlement reform and substantive tax reform in the same package. madam president, i yield the floor.
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mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. the senator is recognized. mr. mcconnell: i ask the senate proceed to immediate consideration of h.r. 1445, h.r. 2668, i ask the bill be read a third time and passed without intervening action or debate, the motion to reconsider made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reid: very briefly, reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i it comes has no surprise the republicans are trying to repeal the health care act. by one count house and senate republicans have tried to fight the same fight more than 70 times. albert einstein was not insane. he was very, very smart but he
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described insanity pretty clearly, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. that's where we are here. this is insane. it's clearly republicans like it better when insurance companies could deny coverage if you had a preexisting condition, when insurance companies could cut off your help when you got sick, when insurance companies could raise insurance rates without any review, and they would say i guess what they're saying now, they want to prevent enforcement of health care reform, they want to repeal free mammograms and preventive care, repeal the law that allows children to stay on their parents' health care until they're 26. let's not fight the same fight over and over again. it's time to stop fighting. it's time to work together. i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i ask unanimous consent when the senate receives h.r. 2009, the keep the i.r.s. off your health care act, the senate proceed to
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its consideration, that the bill be read a third time and passed without intervening action or debate, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reid: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: let me address the first consent that i offered which was objected to. last month, the administration announced it would delay obamacare's employer mandate on businesses. it's not hard to see why they wanted to do that. we keep reading about how businesses both large and small will have little option but to cut employee hours and paychecks as obamacare comes on line. about how restaurants like white castle, for example, are considering hiring only part-time workers moving forward. about how small businesses are citing obamacare as a top worry. now i think there are a lot of members on this side who would
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question the legality of what the president did. but with midterm elections on the horizon, it's no mystery why the administration would want to delay the law for businesses considering how many jobs it's likely to kill. how many paychecks it's likely to slash. here's the thing, though: don't families and individuals deserve the same kind of relief? ynl they do. i don't believe it's fair to give a break to business and leave americans out in the cold. just recently we hernd that ohioans buying health insurance next year can expect about a 40% premium increase. next door in indiana, costs would rise by more than 70%. some georgians could face a nearly 200% premium spike. in my home state of kentucky actuaries are predicting cost increases that could exceed 30%.
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remember, the president said costs would go down. that obamacare was the affordable care act. and millions face the prospect of losing the insurance they like and want to keep which, again, is not what the president promised. that's why i'll be asking or have asked the senate to pass h.r. 2668. this legislation passed the house on a strong bipartisan vote, nearly two dozen democrats supported it and it would delay some of obamacare's most burdensome mandates for everyone. shortly a its passage in the house, my colleagues and i called on majority leader to bring it to the floor for a vote. those calls were unheeded. so i'm disappointed to hear that some of our friends on the other side have oshed to this vote as -- objected to this vote as well. i understand why -- i don't understand, frankly, why they want to leave americans out in the cold.
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it would node north members on this side are united in our belief that at the very least americans deserve the same relief as business businesses do. so we'll all be supporting this commonsense bipartisan bill if we had a chance to vote on it. really you'd think this is a principle members in the body would support unanimously, it's okay for businesses, why not for individuals? well, unfortunately, objection has been heard, and we will not get an opportunity to have the same break for the average american citizen as administration has given through executive action to businesses. it's a shame but that's where we are going into the august recess. madam president, i yield the floor.
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madam president, it's with sorrow that i rise to pay tribute to a young man from kentucky who gave his life in service to our country, private first class dustin p. nappier of london, kentucky died in afghanistan while in support of operation enduring freedom. because the death was injury sustained from small arms fire, p.f.c. nappier was 20 years old. for his service in uniform, p.f.c.napier received several awards, medals and decorationings including the bronze star medal, the army
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ak450e6789 medal, the army good conduct medal, the national defense service medal, the afghanistan campaign medal with bronze service star, the global war on terrorism service medal, the army service ribbon, the overseas service ribbon, the nato medal, the combat badge, and the overseas service bar. dustin's father, darrell, says of his son he was born in an army hospital and i'm sure he ended up dying in an army hospital. he was my hero. please pray for us. dustin was born in an army hospital because he followed his father's example of military service. darrell napier served in the u.s. army from 1989 to 1994 and was stationed in germany and
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fort polk, louisiana. dustin, the youngest of three sons, knew from an early age he wanted a military career. he'd been wanting to do that since he was a little boy about when he was 6 years old, darrell recalls. i encouraged him to do so, and he was a leader. he'd take the initiative to get things done. i've always raised my boys to do the right thing no matter if the cause was popular or unpopular. by the time he reached high school dustin was a top cadet in his junior rotc program. i remember him as a model student, very quiet, and serious. you always knew where he stood, says colonel mark jones of the air force junior rotc program at south laurel high school, dustin's alma mater. dustin rose to be his junior rotc unit's corps commander and the most decorated cadet.f pfc s
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shoong many -- shook many at south laurel high where dustin graduated in 2010 and had many friends. when i heard he died my legs almost collapsed. it was unbelievable. he was a good friend, a mentor and a truly good person says deafen burkhardt, a south laurel student. i learned from him. he was the one who would tell me stick with it when i got frustrated with the program and i did stick with it. steefng cheek, one of dustin's best friends and a high school classmate recalls the fun he and dustin had shooting rifles, going to ballgames, watching movies, and listening to music. dustin's favorite group was the doors. other friends remembered dustin loved to play the air guitar. after graduating from south laurel high, dustin joined the
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u.s. army in july and completed basic training at fort benning, georgia. in april, 2011 he was deployed to afghanistan with c company, first battalion, 25th infantry division based out of fort wayne wright, alaska. darrell napier recalls he would call home every now and then. he did miss home a lot. he loved to hang out with his friends very much, he missed his friends at save a lot where he worked almost four years and if there was one meal dustin really loved from his mother, it was her chicken and dumplings. dustin found happiness thousands of feet in the air while on r & r. on an aimp he met tabitha who he married in october of 2011. remembering her husband,
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tabitha says you are my very best friend, i love you very, very very much, you are an amazing husband. a few days after his death, friends and classmates held a memorial service for dustin at south laurel high school. his friends from his old junior rotc unit thought it fitting to hold the service where dustin had served as such a fine example to past, present, and future cadets. outside the school, the american flag stood at half-mast. cadet napier came here with a purpose from start to finish, from the first fall-in to the last fall-out says randy creature of junior rotc. madam president, we're thinking of pfc napier's loved ones today including his wife tabitha, his parents darrell and mary ann
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napier, his brother darrell dean napier, his stepbrother christopher bitner, his stepson , lane roons, his grandmother, monica paul, his grandfather, james napier and many other beloved friends and family members. i know that no words spoken in this chamber can take away the sadness and loss that dustin's family must feel. but i do want them to know that this nation and this united states senate are deeply grateful for private first class dustin p. napier's service and his sacrifice. and we are humbgled to pay tribute to his life -- humbled to pay tribute to his life and to his legacy. madam president, finally, i'm going to insert my next comments in the record. they relate to current
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conditions in burma, and i ask unanimous consent that these remarks appear in the record at this point as if delivered. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i would also ask to insert the statement of senator john mccain on the nomination of samantha power to be u.s. ambassador to the united nations in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, turning to the matter upon which i asked unanimous consent and to which the majority leader objected, and that is, to take up ladies and gentlemen that i've -- legislation that i've sponsored here in the senate and has been passed in the house which is to keep the i.r.s. off your health care act. with each passing day, it seems like more and more supporters of obamacare are having second
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thoughts. as i mentioned last week, three of america's most powerful labor leaders have declared that the president's health care law is -- quote -- "creating nightmare scenarios" -- close quote and threatening to -- quote --"hurt millions of americans" -- close quote. have those are pretty remarkable words from people who were advocates for the act known as the affordable care act. meanwhile the union that represents i.r.s. employees has announced it does not want its members to receive health insurance through boing exchanges. -- obamacare exchanges. in fact, earlier today the i.r.s. commissioner himself said he wants to keep his current health care policy and does not want to sign up for obamacare obamacare as millions of americans will be required to do. speaking of the internal revenue service the political targeting
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scandal continues to grow. i listeninged in my office to senator hatch, the ranking republican on the senate finance committee, the one primarily responsible for internal revenue service oversight in the senate and i hope that the questions he posed will be answered by the bipartisan investigation that we are conducting. but we recently learned that the i.r.s.'s chief counsel's office headed by an obama administration appointee was aware of the abuses. so much for a couple of rogue agents in cincinnati as originally was reported. we've also learned that i.r.s. officials have improperly targeted not only cmbg organizations -- conservative organizations but political candidates and donors as well. and to make things worse, the same person who ran the i.r.s. division that targeted cmbg groups conservative groups is
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now running the agency's obamacare office. you really can't make this stuff up. the truth is stranger than fiction. so americans might be asking what is the -- does the i.r.s. have to do with obamacare? well, america's tax collection agency will be responsible forked administering several of the law's most important provisions including the individual mandate, which we've heard so much about, the employer mandate, which we've heard about and all of the subsidies -- in other words, all of the tax dollars that go to fund the exchanges under obamacare. those will be administered by the internal revenue service under the current law. it is remarkable at a time when public trust in the internal revenue service has plummeted, at a time when i.r.s. officials are complaining that their staffers are overworked and overburdened, the obama
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administration wants to use this tax agency to administer a massive new entitlement program affecting one sixth of our national economy. to me that sounds like another recipe for disaster. back in may i sponsored legislation that would prevent the internal revenue service from a role in implementing boing. last -- boing. obamacare. last week i introduced it an amendment to the housing and urban development bill pending before this chaimbg. congressman tom price has introduced a similar bill in the house of representatives and, unfortunately, this is amazing, even before the house passed the house bill, before the senate had a chance to take up the senate bill, president obama has already issued a veto threat. were we to pass it. sounds a little defensive to me.
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but i understand that obamacare is a deeply divisive issue here in washington and i understand while many have -- who have compelled to defend the law previously are now feeling a little skittish about it three years later. but i'd ask my colleagues this: given all we've learned about corruption and institutional abuse at the internal revenue service, does anyone really believe we should dramatically expand the agency's power to implement obamacare? does anyone really bleaive that i.r.s. agents should have access to even more personal financial information about, not to mention medical information, about american citizens? if i.r.s. officials conduct add systemic campaign of political targeting against conservative organizations, why should we have any more confidence that the agency will fairly and
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objectively implement the president's health care law? remember, the i.r.s. has already announced that it will violate the text of the law and issue health care subsidies through federal exchanges. you'll recall, what happened is many state states said we will n statstate-based exchanges. so what the i.r.s. has said, we're going to paper over the fact that congress never explicitly authorized tax dollars to subsidize the federal exchanges, even though the law clearly states that those subsidies can be issued only through the state exchanges. another example of lawlessness when it comes to obamacare. in other words, the agencie ages already shown utter contempt to the rule of law when it comes to implementing the president's
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most cherished accomplishment, they have already shown that contempt, and they don't deserve, nor have they shown themselves worthy of our confidence when it comes to implementing this health care law. in my view, the i.r.s. has absolutely no business playing such a huge role in the american health care system. for that market i'd ask my friends on the other side of the aisle one final question: do you still believe that obamacare will reduce health care costs? after all, it's estimated that the law will cause a dramatic spike in individual insurance premiums across the country, from maryland to florida, to indiana, to ohio, to kentucky and missouri, to idaho and california. earlier this week, for example, the florida insurance commissioner predicted that because of obamacare the costs of health insurance in the individual market in florida will increase by 30% to 40%.
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provisions in obamacare which mandate not only the guaranteed issue of health insurance, even after you're sick, something someone compared to waiting until your house is on fire to buy health insurance -- wcialtion it'well,it's not insut drives up the cost. not to mention young people, like those sitting here in front of me, they are going to have to pay the price of subsidizing health care for older americans because of the so-called age-banding requirements which don't allow older citizens to pay anymore than three times when young people pay for health insurance, even though the cost of their health care, given their age will be higher. this is what distorts the insurance market, which is causing health insurance premiums to skyrocket across the states because of obamacare.
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rather than make our individual health insurance markets even more distorted and more dysfunctional than they are today, we should dismantle obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reforms that create a genuine national marketplace for health insurance. i was just reading a story about an oklahoma surgical center which publishes the price of common procedures for the public to read and which now has created what markets always do, greater consumer awareness about what exactly these procedures cost. and as we've seen in medicare part-d -- that's the prescription drug plan that congress passed a few years ag ago -- when you create a market, when you have vendors compete for consumers' business, you're going to see prices go down, you're going to see quality of service too.
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that's what markets do. and they benefit the consumer and they would benefit the taxpayer and patients as well. but what do i mean by patient-centered reforms? i'm talking about reforms that empower individual americans by giving them more choices and flexibility in health care markets. that's what i was giving an example of with that observing observe surgical care center. by giving them more transparent information about pricing and quality, by directly assisting people with preexisting conditions, i heard the majority leader earlier, when senator mcconnell offered a unanimous consent request to extend the moratorium on the individual mandate, just as the president has unilaterally on the employer mandate. and he said something about, well, republicans want people to be subject to -- subjected to preexisting condition exclusions and not covered.
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well, that's just simply false. you don't have to embrace 2,700 pages of obamacare just to take care of that problem or other problems where -- that we have agreement on. but we should also work to protect the doctor-patient relationship. and the last thing we ought to do on my list of things to do to reform the health care system is to save medicare from bankrupt bankruptcy. it is on an unsustainable path and yet any time we try to suggest reforms that will strengthen and stabilize medicare and make sure it's there for future generations, they're met with a -- with a stiff arm. if we want to reduce health care costs, if we want to expand quality insurance coverage and give americans more choices and options, we should equalize the tax treatment for health insurance so it's treated the same whether it's provided by your employer or whether you go by it yourself.
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we should let individuals and businesses form risk pools in the individual market and we should let folks buy insurance across state lines. why shouldn't i be able to buy health insurance in new hampshire or in alabama or somewhere else if it fits my needs? right now that's not possible and it would create a market which would create competition and bring down costs and make it more affordable. and, yes, we should expand tax-free health savings accounts so people can save their own money and spend it as they see fit on their health care. and if they don't spend it there, it's available for their retirement, much like any other individual retirement account. and we should curb frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits. according to one study, the annual costs of defensive medicine is a staggering $21 $210 billion. in my state, we've had a lot of success with medical malpractice
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reform. it's stabilized the cost of medical malpractice insurance that physicians have to buy and has created a huge surplus of physicians who want to move to texas and practice their profession because they realize they won't lose everything they had in a -- in the litigation lottery. and they can buy affordable coverage that will protect their family and, yes, their patients should they make mistakes. and we should give each state much more flexibility to design a medicaid program that works best for their neediest residents. now, medicaid is a wonderful program but it's broken. this is designed to protect the most vulnerable people in our society and provide for their health care needs. but because of the broken medicaid program in my state, only one out of every three doctors will actually see a new medicaid patient because it reimburses at about half of what private insurance would. so many doctors simply can't afford to see a new medicaid patient.
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so what you have is the appearance of coverage but you have no real access to the doctor of your choice, so we need to fix medicaid. and finally, we should establish greater provider competition in medicare so that the competition that i mentioned a moment ago in the medicare prescription drug program can also apply in other aspects of medicare and help make -- make it more affordable and to shore it up and guarantee its availability to generations yet to come. there's no reason why americans have to accept an unworkable health care law administered by an agency like the internal revenue service that is grossl grossly -- that has grossly abused its power and demonstrated that its current job is way beyond its capacity to perform. i realize we won't be able to dismantle obama care of overnight. not with president obama still in the white house and with democratic majorities here in the united states senate. and i realize that many of these
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issues need to be debated further. but i hope we would all be able to agree that the interna interl revenue service, the i.r.s., should not be administering a law that affects one-sixth of our national economy and which so dramatically affects the quality of life for 320 million americans. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. shelby: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: thank you, madam president. last week in illinois, president obama attempted to blame opponents of the obamacare for the law's broken promises. he lashed out at what he called "folks out there who are actively working to make this law fail." his words. and he further said, "politically motivated misinformation campaign is afo afoot." and he strongly implied that
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fault rests not with those who con seefl the law but -- conceive the law but those who have not in his estimation -- his words again -- "committed themselves to making it work." think about it a minute. this flailing, of course, was nothing more than an effort by president obama to dodge and deflect accountability for the law that bears his name. let's be real, madam president. obamacare is not a failure because so many americans reject it. rather, so many americans reject obamacare because it is a failure. madam president, i believe we should focus on what really matters. manneramericans are growing increasingly anxious about how the law will affect them and their familie families. they wonder what it will mean for their health insurance and tax bills.
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they wonder whether they will be able to get the care they need, when they need it. they wonder whether the quality of american health care will remain the best in the world. and, yes, they wonder how a government reorganization of one-sixth of the economy will impact a weak jobs market. unfortunately, madam president, neither the outset nor the outlook provides consolation. president obama has frequently sought to downplay the debacle surrounding the rollout of his health care law. he says -- and i'll quote -- that "glitches and bumps are to be expected." as "the wall street journal" columnist kimberly str a. ssle notes, the democrats didn't count on the hickups turning into cardiac arrest." that's what's happened cht since the enactment of obamacare, a
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laundry list of unworkable provisions has been repealed or delayed. but just recently the administration announced two particularly notable delays. first, the administration will delay implementation of the law's employer mandate until 2015 because workable reporting requirements are not yet in place. this provision requires all employers in this country with more than 50 employees to provide adequate health care coverage for full-time employees, defined as those employed at least 30 hours per week, or pay a penalty. in anticipation of this mandate, many employers are cutting back hours for current workers and holing off on hiring new -- and holding off on hiring new ones.
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madam president, i welcome any relief from obamacare from anyone in this country. but why should such relief not apply to individuals and families as well as business? and if the administration hasn't gotten its act together by now, what leads us to believe that it ever will? instead of temporarily delaying part of obamacare for some, i believe the best course would be to permanently delay all of it for everyone. the administration also recently announced postponement of a critical taxpayer protection under obamacare. taxpayers were previously told that the government would verify that applicant applicants actuay for subsidies before receiving them. now the administration says it's not ready to do that until 2015, although it will still go ahead
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with the program in 2014. so for the coming year, the obama administration will trust but not verify anything. the honor system, i believe, is no taxpayer protection here. these are not just run-of-the-mill glitches and bumps, as the president would say. these provisions are central to the legislation and may foreshadow major problems to cornlings as we find out -- to come, as we find out every day. these provisions are unworkable, are problematic, not because people don't like them but because they were poorly designed. this isn't about a lack of commitment on behalf of those forced to comply with these mandates. rather, it's about a lack of competence on behalf of those conceived and crafted these provisions. but in light of the disastrous
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rollout of obamacare, americans are also apprehensive about the cost. yes, the cost. how will all of this impact our health insurance premiums? what will be the tax burden? what will a new entitlement program do to our $17 trillion debt, which is growing? with respect to premiums, president obama told the american people that his health care overhaul -- quote -- "could save families $2,500 in the coming years." knows arthose are his words. but despite this bold claim, health insurance premiums for the average american family have increased by over $3,000 since 2008, and this is according to the kaiser family foundation employer health benefit survey, which is very well-respected. moreover, a recent "wall street journal" analysis finds that
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premiums for healthy consumers could double or even triple under obamacare. can you imagine that? although obamacare has not decreased premiums, it certainly has increased taxes. and according to the congressional budget office, c.b.o., and the joint committee on taxation, obamacare imposes a $1 trillion tax hike on the american economy over just the first ten years, a trillion-dollar tax hike. their analysis finds 21 tax hikes in obamacare due to the law's various mandates and restrictions. among these, several affect individuals making less than $200,000 and married couples making less than $250,000, a clear violation of president prt obama's ofpresidentobama's oft-n
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promise not to do soavment obamacare will still add $6.2 trillion -- yes, $6.2 trillion to the debt in the years ahead. this is based on the government accountability office projections. this clearly violates yet another promise by the president: that he would not -- and i'll quote his words "not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future." goodness. had madam president, i believe that obamacare will not only fail to control costs, as is evident here, but throe also to destroy the best quality health care in the world -- ours. why do i say that? in 2009, martin feldstein -- dr. feldstein, chairman of the council of economic advisors under president reagan, and a harvard professor, wrote an op-ed in "the wall street
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journal" titled, "obamacare is all about rationing." he backed up his statement by citing a report issued by by president obama's own counsel of economic advisors which explained how the president would propose to reduce health spending by eliminating certain treatments. by rationing. dr. feldstein went on to compare the obama strategy to that of the british national health service. concluded that the existence of such a program in the u.s. would not only deny lifesaving care but would also cast a pall over medical researchers who would fear that government experts might reject their discoveries as -- quote -- "too expensive." madam president, think of the implications of rationing health care. what does it mean for a patient sitting in the doctor's office when they get a life-changing
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diagnosis? i know that feeling. i've been there. it reassured me to know that we have the best health care in the world and that everything possible will be done to save my life. i want others who encounter that situation to have the same reassurance, but will they? and despite what president obama may say, it's not just republicans who have deep concerns about health care. just this week on the same "wall street journal" opinion pages, howard dean, a former democratic national committee chairman and governor, also a physician, concurred with dr. feldstein. mr. dean wrote that obamacare's independent payment advisory board, ipab, quote, "is essentially a health care-rationing body." and by setting doctor
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reimbursement rates for medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered, and at what prierk what price, the e able to stop certain procedures by setting levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them. that was the plan a mr. deaning went ton say, "these kind of schemes do not control costs. the medical system simply becomes more bureaucratic." we all know know that the obamacare is a bureaucratic nightmare, madam president. with more than 20,000 pages of new rules and regulations, the law expands government to an unprecedented level, creating, yes, 159 new boards, commissions, and government offices smoffices. think of it.
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deloitte's 2013 survey of u.s. significances finds that due to recent developments in health care, the future of the medical profession as we know it may be in jeopardy as it loses clinical autonomy and compensation. the survey by deloitte also found that six had ten physicians -- six in ten -- say that it's likely that many physicians will retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years. again, sitting in that doctor's office, i remember breathe a little easier to know that we we have not only the most advanced treatments imu also the most skilled and experienced physicians in the world. we don't want to jeopardize that, do we? in addition to concerns about the quality of care, the obama administration has backtracked on skill another of the president's programs. in 2009, he stated
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unambiguously, and i quote, "if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period." the president's words. but despite this pledge, the department of health and human services under the obama administration recently posted the following on healt healthcae govment "depending on the plan you choose in the market plashings us may be, you may be able to keep your current doctor." "may be able to keep your doctor," mr. president. that's not what you told the american people. a university of chicago study underscores this finding that more than half of current individual insurance plans do not meet obamacare standards to be sold on the exchanges. so much for that ironclad promise, mr. president. but there's another area.
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obamacare is a job killer. how will obamacare affect jobs? president obama's recent illinois speech that i mentioned earlier, he made the following but curious statement about republicans and job creation: i'll quote. "they bring up obamacare despite the fact that our businesses have created nearly twice as many jobs in this recovery as they had at the same point in the last recovery, when there was no obamacare." mr. president, this is not right. at a minimum, president obama implied that obamacare has not hurt job creation. at worst, he implied it has helped. in stark contrast, the u.s. chamber of commerce second quarter 2013 small business survey in america finds that 71% of small businesses -- and
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that's the job-creation machine in this country -- say that the health care law makes it harder to hire. the same survey finds that one half of small businesses say that they will either cut hours, reduce full-time employees, or replace full-time employees with part-time workers to avoid the obama mandate. in addition, gallup finds that 41% of small businesses say they have held off on hiring new employees in response to obamacare. madam president, the one-year delay on obamacare's employer mandate provides momentary relief, but in light of sustained high unemployment in this country, i find it deeply troubling that perhaps the best thing president obama has done for american business during his time in office to provide only a
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deep reprieve to his own signature achievement. notably, madam president, labor unions agree with businesses now, that the obamacare will hurt the economy. recently in a scathing letter to democratic leaders in congress, the presidents of the teamsters union, the uscw, and unite here wrote that obamacare care -- and i will quote -- "will shatter otoonly our hard-earned health benefits but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the american middle class." madam president, this brings me full circle to where i begin my remarks. president obama conveniently blames republican opposition for the stumbles and failures of obamacare despite the fact that americans across the political spectrum have spoken up about its many, many flaws. president obama rammed his
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health care legislation through congress without a single republican vote. why? because he knew he didn't need our votes to put the entire nation on his health care plan then. yet now he claims that obamacare works for those who are committed to it. committed to it? madam madam president, republicans are committed to finding solutions that actually lower health care costs that do not tax and spend us into oblivion, that preserve the world's highest quality health care and foster economic growth. we've said all along that obamacare would fail on each of these counts. and i believe that opposition to obamacare is not responsible for its failures, and the commitment to it will not negate its deep flaws. the only way to achieve the goals we all share is to begin by repealing this failed law so we can replace it with a plan that works. i hope we can.
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i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. sessions: madam president,am ? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: thank you. madam president, i would like to share some remarks about the economic condition of american workers, the immigration bill that passed here recently, and
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in general about where we are as a nation and the difficulties we are facing. i think there is a growing acceptance by most experts that we have indeed seen a decline in wages of middle-class and working americans relative to inflation for maybe as much as 1999. a steady erosion of their position, incomes relative to the price of products that they buy. that is not a healthy trend. president obama talked about it. the our democratic colleagues talked about it when president bush was president, a lot. but it's continued. i thought maybe it was an abrasion but i don't think so anymore. i think a lot of things are happening with robotics, obamacare, other things that are happening that can making it -- that are making it more
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difficult for workers to find jobs, unemployment remains exceedingly high and to have wage increases. so one of the things that i noticed this week from the republican side of the aisle, congress received two letters, one from republican donors, according to some, and another from c.e.o.'s urging that congress act on immigration. this is primarily to the house members. so nearly a hundred top republican donors, they call themselves, and bush administration officials, sent a letter to the house republicans on tuesday urging lawmakers to pass a bill that legalizes illegal immigrants, that donor letter came the same day, the united states chamber of commerce and 400 other businesses and umbrella groups fired off another letter to the
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hous leaders of both parties urging them to pass something. one word was not mentioned in either one of those letters. "wages." nor was any discussion of jobs and unemployment raised in those letters. mr. carl roask, a man i -- karl rove, a man i know and a longtime friend, and these groups would have us believe that this legislation is just about the providing of northwest to people -- he was in of -- amnesty of people to people who have been here a long time. businesses know that it will expand the available labor pool for industries with the effect, i suggest, of bringing down wages particularly in the areas where illegal workers might not have previously had access. of the 11 million people perhaps
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half, we understand, do not have fake documents, are unable to work in the labor force, effectively, and they take marginal jobs and if this bill were to pass all would immediately be gifng social security numbers -- given social security numbers and be able to apply to any job in america. that's both a good thing and a difficult thing. it's good that they could be able to work, it's not so good if you wanted wupt jors, one of the jobs that would be taken. there is a phrase in the letter which has gotten too little attention which explains what this is all about. mr. rove and the donors say the legislation must -- quote -- "provide a legal way for u.s.-based companies to hire the workers they need" -- close quote. so we're supposed to pass a law that guarantees american workers
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the right to hire whoever they say they need, whoever they say is best for them and that means the best worker at the lowest price. that's what free markets are all about. that's what the law of supply and demand is all about. and it has not been repealed, by the way,. so first and foremost, that cannot be the goal of an immigration policy of the united states of america. it cannot be the overriding policy of our system to provide and to make sure that whatever workers our companies want and whatever price apparently they're willing to pay, want to pay, we just allow workers to come in from abroad and take those jobs, regardless of the unemployment rate in america. regard less of the number of people that are on welfare, on unemployment compensation. who haven't had a good paycheck
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be of years perhaps. our responsibility and our goal is to serve the people of this country and to try to create a climate and an economic agenda that allows them to prosper. and to actually find jobs and actually get pay raises, not pay reductions. of course, there is already a legal way for u.s.-based companies to hire workers they need. they can hire the people living here today that are unemployed. or they can hire some of the million plus immigrants that we lawfully admit each year. we have a very generous immigration policy. no one is talking about ending that and not allowing immigration to continue. we allow about a million one a year come to america lawfully, plus guest workers who come specifically to work.
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that's very generous. but this bill would double the number of guest workers and increase substantially the number of people who come through immigration to become permanent residents in our country at a time of high unemployment, much higher employment than we -- unemployment than we had in 2007 and that bill would have allowed much fewer people to come into the country and it was rejected by the american people. so no one is saying that these programs can't and shouldn't exist. and that they shouldn't be improved. but i'm afraid the businesses want, really, just the choicest pick of labor at the lowest cost they can get it. that's what businesses do. that's what businesses want every day.
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when they go out and interview people, they go out and interview people, they want the best person they can get at the least cost. that's what their stockholders demand. so they believe the immigration policy for the entire nation should exist to create an abundance of low cost labor. i don't agree with that. they -- their bubble that they live in think that lower wages are good. concerns about rising wages might drive up prices, you hear "the wall street journal" say. maybe some politicians think that, too. they're not concerned with how the plan impacts workers, the immigrants themselves, public resources, the education system, or taxpayers' dollars. they're not focused on the broader economic and social concerns that happen when someone is not able to get a job for years at a decent wage.
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the focus tends to be on the reduction of the cost of labor. but america has a larger concern. that concern is unemployment, it is workplace participation, it's wages, and it's the cost of social services to those in need. we all agree we must make america more competitive globally, workers must be productive and competitive. but how do we close the income gap, how do we deal with that? the best way to do that is not to reduce our wages and workers' quality of life. the way to do that is with the less burdensome tax code, a less intrusive regulatory system, and a tougher, smarter fair trade policy. these policies would make us more competitive and help wages and working conditions improve. so when these businesses --
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voices and establishment figures say that the g.o.p. needs to support a competitive immigration bill, what they're really saying is g.o.p. and the congress of both parties -- which in the senate, of course, a minority of republicans voted for the bill and every single democrat voted for. they -- the bill. they would have done the things i'm concerned about. now they're worried about the republican house and they're trying to put the pressure on them. so what they're saying is we need to increase low-skilled immigration. when we don't have enough jobs now. the senate bill based on c.b.o. analysis would provide legal status to 46 million people, mostly lower-skilled immigrants, by 2023. 46 million. here's what the national review
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editorialized on the subject. "by more than doubling the number of so-called guest workers admitted each year, the bill would help create a permanent underclass of foreign workers. the 2007 bush-kennedy proposal was rejected in part because it would have added 125,000 new guest workers. the gang of eight bill, one that we just passed in the senate, would have added 1.6 million the first year and about 600,000 a year after that, and that is on top of a 50% or more increase in the total level of legal immigration, the creation of a large population of secd-class workers is undesirable from the point of view of the american national interest, which should be our guiding force in this matter. the united states is a nation with an economy, not an economy with a nation. this nation owes certain things
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to its citizens. the people who are here now and we've got a lot, 300 million and many of them are hurting and we owe them the best opportunity, owe them the best opportunity to be successful. and have a decent job with increasing wages, not declining. here's what a conservative writer, uvall la vein wrote in a recent op-ed. these are conservative writers. the left's economic policies and the decades of right-wing confusion about the difference between being pro-market and pro-business are making the american economy less and less like a vision of capitalism that conservatives should want to defend. they should consider what now would be best for the cause of growth and prosperity, the cause of free markets and free people.
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capitalism is fundamentally democratic, after all. we might say fundamentally populist. recovering this understanding of conservative economics would help today's republicans see an enormous public need and an important political opportunity. it would 0 foins a conservative agenda to help working families better afford life in the middle class and give more americans a chance to rise. close quote. so this is, i guess, directed -- too late now to deal with the senate. it's passed the senate. but not too late to deal with the house, which does have a republican majority. so if members of congress want to broaden their appeal, speaking to the real and legitimate concerns of millions of hurting americans whose wages have declined and whose job prospects have diminished.
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in 200 oork "the new york times" -- in 2000, "the new york times" talked about this in 2000. they forgot about all this now. but in 2000 they editorialized against an amnesty bill, what they call a hasty call for amnesty, and warned that -- quote -- "between about 19 0eu8 and 1995, the gap between wages of high school dropouts and all other workers widens substantially." that's what "the new york times" said then. and it remains true. professor george borjas, himself an immigrant to america as a young man from cuba -- not harvard, perhaps the most effective and knowledgeable and respected student of wages and imdpraitioimmigration in the wo, certainly in the united states, estimates -- get this -- that
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40% --t half of the trend downward in wages today can be traced to immigration from unskilled workers. because it provides -- businesses don't have to bid up salaries to get good workers if you constantly have a flow of people coming in. and now that data, he reported, has been updated. high levels of low-skilled immigration between 1980 and 2000, which would be greatly increased if this tbhail passed the senate were to become law, has already reduced the wages of native workers without a high school diploma by 8%, according to professor borjas. he's done the labor department statistics, census data, and all kinds of data, according to the highest academic standards. he said their wages have fallen from to 2000 by 8% in real dollars as a result of the current flow of immigration. and so that is about $260 a month. do you think that doesn't make a difference to an working
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american and their family to lose $260 a month? oh, we don't talk about that. that's not a problem. the immigration bill will increase wages, we're told. professor borjas said it's already reduced wages by enough to be very painful to people that are trying to take care of their families today. and wages continue to fall, and this is not only an economic problem but it's a social problem. the idea that dramatically increasing the number of foreign workers to take a limited number of american jobs will reduce unemployment and raise wages is so ridiculous, it's hard to think it worth discussion. the very idea of this is beyond my comprehension. yet we have the president out there today sending out documents, claiming just the opposite. the president of the united
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states. the law of supply and demand hag not been reduced and eliminated. wages today are lower than in 1999. median household income has declined 8 nuclear that time. 47 million of our residents are on food stamps today. one in three households in detroit, according to the associated press, four out of five u.s. adults struggle with joblessness, near porveghts or reliance on welfare. there's no shortage of labor in the united states. there is a shortage of jobs in the united states. our goal must be to help our struggling americans move from dependency to independence, to help them find steady jobs and rising pay, not declining pay. our policy cannot be to simply relegate more and more of our citizens to dependence on the
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government while importing a steady stream of foreign workers to take the available jobs. that is not in the interest of our country or the people of this country. some contend our unemployed don't have the needed skills. well, let's train them. we now spend over $750 billion a year on means-tested welfare assistance-type programs. that's the largest item in the budget, bigger than social security, bigger than defense, bigger than medicare. and of that amount, we spend about -- for every $100 we spend on those programs, we only spend $1 on job training. so we need to wake up here. we need to quit paying people not to work, quit delivering money that creates dependence,
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and be shifting our policy nays way that puts -- in a way that ports peoplputs people to work m trained today. as we leave for recess, my message to my colleagues in the house is this: just do the right thing. make your priority restoring the rule of law, defending working americans, a understan --, aroug those struggling. people that immigrate here lawfully. they want to go it work and see their wages rise, too. their wages are too low if the flow of immigration is too large. so it's amazing to me how the coalition has been put together. they -- and some of the comments about it are -- tend to take my breath away. here whats president said today
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in his paper claig claiming that everything is going to be great with had huge increase of imgrigs that was in the bill and he wants to see passed in the house. thithis is their report. the broader lee sure and hospitality industries, one of the fastest-growing sectors in the united states economy, also stands to benefit significantly from commonsense immigration reform. according to the bureau of labor statistics, the leisure and hospitality industry has consistently added jobs over the last three years. these sectors remain a source of robust economic activity and continue to exceed expectations. leaders of these industries have been longtime proponents of legislation that would legalize workers in the united states and facilitate the lawful employment of future foreign-born workers osm the head of the american
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hotel and lodging association this year applaud the senate -- i bet he did -- applauded the senate on behalf of the lodging industry for his bipartisan commitment to immigration reform that creates jobs, boosts travel and tourism, preserves hoteliers access to a strong seasonal workforce and stimulates economic growth." close quote. well, sure. he'd rather be able to have a large flow of workers from abroad take the jobs. but what happens to the americans not getting jobs? are they on the food stamp rolls, the assistance rolls, are they on unemployment compensation, are they otherwise struggling to get by with government assistance? wouldn't they be better for our americans to have those jobs? i mean be, think about it. the -- i mean, think about t the president of the united states out here celebrating special
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interest hotel magnates, casino magnates who want cheap foreign labor so they don't have to hire american workers who are unemployed. now, that's what we're talking about. well, i think it's time for the republicans to stand up to the republican 100 donors writing their letter. give me a braifnlg break. and reject their advice. and the premise of their letter that the public policy of the united states should be based on giving u.s. companies a legal basis for hiring all the low-cost foreign workers they say they need. they are not entitled to demand that. we're supposed to set national policy here. we're supposed to set policy that serves the national interest. we don't work for these people. so the national interest is to reduce unemployment certainly and to create rising wages.
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that's our responsibility in this body, and let's get on with it. i just want to say how great toss see my friend, senator en enzi -- i'm taking his time up. he works later. he's been a great principled supporter of emmigration reform and is opposed to the bill that came before us, and i thank you, senator enzi, for your work on so many issues but this one is on my mind today and i.t. great to sigh. i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. enzi: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: madam president, i had a he ask that the quorum call be set aside. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: thank you. you know, a lot of americans are worried right now about their health insurance. they know what's coming. seniors have been turned down by their doctor for medicare treatment because the doctors aren't adequately compensated. if they haven't been turned down, think know someone who has been turned down. and medicaid is uncertain and a stigma. on the one hand, advances in medical technology and the capabilities and knowledge of our health care providers means that we're living longer and have more tools at hand than ever before to address diseases and illnesses. however, on the other hand, this
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increasing life expectancy coupled with the aging of our population and the steady increases in health care costs means that our health care system is on the verge of becoming completely unsustainable financially. all across the country health insurance rates are skyrocketing. families are struggling to cope with the higher cost and less choice. employees are losing coverage and they're losing working hours, and businesses just aren't hiring. at the center of this uncertainty is the president's health care law. a number of provisions have already gone into effect, but we won't experience the full force of the law until 2014. that's january. the democrat go-it-alone health care reform plan in 2009 was the first major piece of legislation to pass congress without a bipartisan vote. let me repeat that again. the democrat go-it-alone health
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care reform plan in 2009 was the first major piece of legislation to pass congress without a bipartisan vote. when you have a part sang bill, you get partisan results. after 20,000 pages of regulations and still a lot more to come -- they're a little behind on those -- and ave afte0 new bureaucratic boards, agencies, and program, the federal government still can't figure out how to make the law work and have had to delay it, in part. what i have seen to date is enough to convince me that we need a different pasmght i opposed the health care law initially and i support full repeal of the law. fixing our health care system doesn't have to be divisive or partisan. there are clear differences in the afroach fixing fleck all across the political ideological spectrum. however, the least we have to do is to dismantle the worst parts of the law and replace them with reforms that actually work.
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reforms that lower cost and expand choice, reforms that don't brumen bankrupt the countd every taxpayer. the federal government needs to support viable solutions when needed and refrain from handcuffing designings with the exsection ssessiv ssess excessie regulations or narrowed politiinterests. we need more competition not less. unless we take concrete steps now, we will soon b not be ableo switch off government-run health care. when i first got here, i was warned that there were people who didn't care who rang the train of health as long as it wrecked and then we could have universal single-pay, government-running health care. i'm not sure that isn't still the goal. one clear example of how convoluted this law is comes from the definition of who an employee is. now, you i used to work in the shoe business so i understand the difference between a full-time work, which was 40 hours a week and part-time work,
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which was under 40 hours a week. under the health care law, there are now full-time employees and full-time equivalence. what this means is that the law requires employers -- and particularly small businesses -- to determine how many of their part-time employees it takes to equal a full-time employee. you don't come under the full force of the law until you hit 509 employees. and there are businesses that understand that and tear a trying to avoid get thouing that 50th employee. but there are some chasms in this law. -- but there are some catches in this lawsm the health care law sets fl-time at 30 hours. not 40 hours per week, 30 howmplets it always was 40 hours. second, the law requires these employers to take everyone working 29 hours a week or less, combine all of their time for a week, and then divide by the number 30 to establish how many
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full-time equivalents these part-time workers represent. i don't think a lot of people planned on that. if you're still following along at this point, congratulations. you can see how costly the taxes imposed by this law will be. what if the rule forces you to add all your employees' hours and divide by 0 hours to determine your full-time employees? what if you have ten employees who are wrorking 40 hours? that would be 400 hours. so you divide that by 30 you need now find out that you're paying ten people but you've actually got 13 and a third employees at the full-time requirement. that could put you over the 50 and put knew a whole different categories of costs and penalties. if you have ten employees and you watched it so that they're only at the 29 hours, that comes to 290 hours and if you divide that by 30, you'll find out that even though none of these people are full-time employees, that
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you real lid have nine and two-thirds full-time employees. you can see how they could do a little miscalculations and certainly be at the 50 and nob a whole new series of penalties. the obama administration also had to admit recently that the employer mandate, one of the key pieces of the larks isn't ready. now, one of the most economically crushing and burdensome regulations wons be implemented until past 2014, past the 2014 election -- in 2015. i don't think that was a mistake on their part. i think it was intentional. come after the election. now, there's another little complication that gets thrown in here, though. if those employers are not providing the health insurance and not being fined for not providing the health insurance, then the people that work for them have to go on the exchange to get their health insurance. and if they go on the exchange to get their health insurance,
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they can't be subsidized by the business that they worked for. that's going to be a surprise to a lot of employees, too. so the delay will force more people to enroll in health care exchanges or face the tax penalty if they don't. now, a lot of people don't realize that if they do go on the exchange, there's also a surcharge on the cost of their health insurance. they're going to be paying a 3.5% tax for buying the insurance. and, of course, if they don't buy the insurance, then they get a penalty. so the delay was also made for the businesses without congressional approval. done administratively. the congressional b congressione and the joint committee on taxation informed senator hatch this week that this delay will increase the cost of the new insurance program established by law by $12 billion. it's not like we had an extra $12 billion laying around here. and, in particular, the
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congressional budget office and the joint committee on taxation estimated that the federal government would be required to pay an additional $3 billion in subsidies for people on the exchanges. a lot of extra costs just got kicked in there. this delay not only increases the costs on hardworking americans but it fails the onch intent of health care reform -- that's to provide americans with high-quality, affordable health care. in addition, the law requires the administration to set up health insurance exchanges in a number of states, including wyoming. we're sparsely populated low numbers. the numbers wouldn't work out to do our own exchange. one problem is that the administration has yet to tell anyone exactly how they're going to do those exchanges or what even a basic plan is. now, if you're going to have a range of plans that insurance companies can bid on that you
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can look occupy the computer, doesn't it seem before you can even start that, that you'd have to know what the basic plan is? how the president can argue that everyone will love the health care law once it goes into effect is beyond me. this administration can't even tell anyone where they can buy thurn insurance, what plan -- where they can buy their insurance, what the plan options will be, and most importantly, what the cost will be. remember what nancy pelosi said before we passed the law -- we'll have to pass the law before we get to know what's in t. the administration is shopping its own version of that statement. as the senate finance committee chairman put it recently, this law is a train wreck waiting to happen. that's the democrat senate finance committee chairman. of course, on top of all this, the law relies in part on new taxes and tax subsidies to support the coverage expansion. this means that the i.r.s. will be involved in implementation.
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i have significant concerns with the ability of the i.r.s., particularly in wake of the current scandal. the fact that this organization, the i.r.s., tainted by such political behavior, is involved in implementing the new health care law has increased my belief that the health care law is not something the country wants or needs. and, of course, the i.r.s. employees don't want to come under this law either. i don't know of anybody that really wants to come around it. i'll take a close look at proposals to remove the i.r.s. from any implementation activities bought i do think they should be subject to the law too. at the same time, i'll continue to work to provide folks with the relief from the health care law as a whole. now, one of the things i've said if you're going on the exchange, if you're in certain income categories, then you get a subsidy from the government to help you purchase your insuran
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insurance. and we're told now that that will be self-reporting and will not be subject to audit. doesn't that sound like something that could be fraught with a lot of fraud? where you can say that you just make enough to get into the biggest subsidies? everybody wouldn't do that, of course, but i think there are some that would. now, how's the government doing on some of the things they already put into effect? i saw a little article on high-risk pools. when the bill went in, a lot of the states already had high-risk pools and we worked with those states to make those viable. but the government -- the federal government said, we can do it for less. and they put in a high-risk pool. now, to keep people from jumping from the state ones which, yes, are more expensive, over of into the federal one, which is less expensive, they said that you couldn't make the jump unless you were without insurance for six months. now, people that need to be in the high-risk peel can't afford to be -- people can't afford to
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be without insurance for six months, so there wasn't a big jump to the high-risk pool. but in spite of the fact that there wasn't a big jump to the high-risk pool, the federal high-risk pool went broke, it ran out of money. and here the disturbing par's tt of that article. they just shifted that part over the states. the states are already doing it, and they're doing the right thing, and now they're going to be asked to pick up the additional parts. how many parts of obamacare are going to get shifted over to the states? the states have had a lot of promises under this. can any of those promises be met? will they be met? a lot of decisions are being based on what the federal government promised. and, of course, in truth, we're out of money. the new law also failed to address the problem of rising health care costs. i believe that the federal fiscal situation is untenable and we need to implement significant and far-reechg spendin-reachingspending cuts tl
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house in order. we cannot continue on our current path. the president and his administration will argue that the new law will expand access and lower costs. well, the law certainly increases access to insurance. it also moved billions of dollars from the medicare program to pay for this new insurance program. that's not exactly saving the government money. the projections for lower costs also don't add up for the average american either. insurance premiums and rates are increasing. small businesses are unable to continue providing health insurance for their workers. businesses in general have delayed hiring or are only hi part time. although i hope they listened to the report i gave about the part-time glitch that's written into the law. all this is driven by the economic impact of the health care law. now, my senate republican colleagues and i are focused on developing proposals that
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address the worst aspects of the health care law. the law increases premiums and health care costs, forces employers to stop offering insurance to their employees, and slashes benefits for millions of medicare beneficiaries. oi support repealing both the cp on health savings accounts and on flexible spending accounts and the prohibition on over-the-counter purchases included in the health care law. flexible spending accounts help make consumers more aware and engaged in their health care spending. health savings accounts are something that young, healthy staffers of the senate like to do. they could -- they could do the math real easy. they could look at the regular program and see how much that could cost or they could take a look at the health savings account. and the difference in the price, in just three years, they could cover the whole deductible part as long as they were healthy for three years and they'd be covered for that part until
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something major happened. and they were covered for catastrophic. so they found that to be a real bargain. but not anymore. now, additionally, a number of other senators and i have put forth bills to repeal the taxes imposed by the president's health care law. that would be relief from new taxes on prescription drugs, relief from new taxes on medical devices, relief from new taxes on health insurance plans. i want to provide relief to employers from the new regulations imposed on them by the law. these ideas preserve competition in a private market for health care coverage and lower the cost of care for the consumer. all of these steps are commonsense reforms to the health care law that take us off the path toward a national federal health care system. one of the most effective ways congress can address the rising costs of health care is to focus on the way it's delivered as part of the nation's current
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cost-driven and ineffective health care system. america's broken fee-for-service structure is driving our nation's health care system further downward. today's method of payment encourages providers to see as many patients and prescribe as many treatments as possible but does nothing to reward providers who keep patients healthy. this maligned incentive created for the fee-for-service system drive up costs and hurt patient care. tackling this issue is a good start to reining in rising health care costs. now, the health care law championed by president obama and the majority party in the senate did little to address these problems because the vast majority of the legislation involved a massive expansion of the government price controls found in the fee-for-service medicare and medicaid. if we want to address the threat posed by out-of-control entitlement spending, we need to restructure medicare to better align incentives for providers and beneficiaries. this will not only lower health care costs, it will also improve
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the quality of care for millions of americans. it's very important we protect access to rural health care services too. there's more that can be done to better align federal programs to meet the needs of rural and frontier states. the criteria that determine eligibility for federal funds to support rural health care programs are based on factors that make it difficult to prove the needs of the underserved in rural and frontier areas. for example, one provider for 3,500 people in new york city is entirely different than the 3,500 people living in freemont or campbell county or perhaps more so in niabrerra county. i use them quite a bit for examples because niabrerra county is the size of gel dell e and has 2,500 people. it's 95 miles tall and 5 miles
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wide. and in the middle in the center is a town called lusk and that's where all the people live. and they do have a hospital there. and when they have a doctor or a physician's assistant, the hospital is open. when it's not, there ar they'res from trauma center. and you can't apply the same rules to that hospital that you apply to ne new york city's hospital. in addition, we need to think more creatively about how to use technology services to improve telemedicine capabilities for -- particularly for the rural places. so that where a person lives has less impact on the level of care that they're able to receive. the advancement of more powerful wireless technologies has substantial potential to remotely link individuals across the country to deliver health care in more accessible settings. our nation has made great strides in improving the quality of life for all americans and we
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need to remember that every major legislative initiative what has helped transform our country has been forged in the spirit of cooperation. these qualities are essential to the success and longevity of crucial programs such as medicare and medicaid. but when it comes to health care decisions being made in washington lately, the only thing the government is doing well is increasing partisanship and legislative grir legislativ. the president and democrats need to listen. it's time to admit that this partisan experiment in government-run health care is failing. in order for this to get better, they must acknowledge the problem. some of the law's authors and biggest supporters admit this

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